Erimus Insurance Brokers are a Top 100 Independent Insurance Broker in the UK. Head-quartered in Teesside, Erimus’ client base ranges from owner managed SMEs to £200m + turnover companies. Erimus endeavours to work with their clients to create high level, service driven, long term relationships.
Emma Brown was initially employed as a graduate working in the Development team as an Insurance Broker.
Here’s Emma’s story, where she talks about how she grew and developed into the role of Marketing Manager from initially being a graduate with no marketing experience. Emma was introduced to the button methodology through a training course and then went on to lead a marketing team to the best organic six months the company had ever had during the Coronavirus pandemic!
“When I initially joined Erimus as a graduate, Erimus was a thriving and well established business employing 40 staff in two businesses. However, their marketing button had fallen off, rolled under the table and no one was looking for it. Marketing was the hot potato which kept getting passed from person to person. It was nobody’s job and everybody’s job. Nobody wanted to take ownership of it.
Once I’d been in my role as broker for 18 months or so I was keen to progress. An account executive would have been the natural progression for me but I didn’t want to do that. I spoke to Paul, our Commercial Director and he said that Erimus were keen to support my development but were unsure what the role would be.
Emma Was New to a Marketing Role
Luckily I’d worked closely with all the Directors and they knew my skill set. Paul approached me and asked me to take on responsibility for marketing which I took on as a dual role, doing marketing alongside brokering.
I started out by literally reading every marketing strategy book I could get my hands on. But these books left me with more questions, in particular, why?
I felt like I was going around in circles, but at that time Margaret Bradshaw (Mags) was doing telemarketing for Erimus (which she still does) and was there each week. I would ask questions each week, until after about six months, Mags asked me if I would like learn about the button methodology for marketing strategy.
The Button Methodology
We sat in the board room for three hours and Mags provided us with a workbook and went through the button methodology and what all the button-holes mean. My mindset was changed and the methodology provided the holistic view of the company which had been missing.
I now understood where marketing fits, who the key stakeholders were and who needed to be nurtured, apart from our prospects.
I thought this actually makes complete sense. I knew exactly what I needed to do and how it was going to work at Erimus. The week after the training I did the full marketing plan and strategy which was really daunting as I had no experience. Suddenly all the reading I’d been doing slotted inbetween and I finally understood why we needed to carry out different marketing activities.
My journey into marketing started with the methodology. I was trying to make marketing work, but this was the turning point where I really felt like I was doing marketing.
Fast forward a year or so to January 2020 and I was promoted to Marketing Manager. It was a bit scary, running a full marketing department where I had to decide what everyone was doing and what my day would be. However I didn’t veer from the button methodology. Our entire strategy is built around the button methodology and it’s the core pillars that hold up what we do. We’re a big business now, with the sales staff also being part of marketing.
Initially it wasn’t clear what marketing was and everybody had their own perception of what it means. Luckily I had the backing of some of the key Directors. We had an ambitious growth strategy but had grown largely by word of mouth up until that point.
Paul was great and he looks at 5 and 10 years’ ahead. He could see that marketing would be needed more and more to back up the Erimus proposition. He spearheaded it
and saw that I would be the person to drive it within the business. It’s been quite a long process to get the team on board. Ironically, a couple of weeks’ ago, one of the guys in the sales team spoke to the Sales Director and said he was really dubious about a marketing led approach, he didn’t think it would work and was really shocked at how well it has worked!
As much as you can say that the button methodology works as a feeling, actually our figures show that it does work.
Particularly during the pandemic (not that I want to be doom and gloom) it was a really difficult time and I had just taken on marketing full time. Suddenly the team had management responsibilities and we got together to discuss what the strategy would look like going forward. We decided that absolutely we needed to stick to our existing strategy and plans. In fact we doubled down and there were lots of long days sending out information.
Return on Investment
I’ve just done our Q1 2021 summary and over the last year compared to March 2020 we’ve tripled our income on new business and tripled the amount of quotes that we’ve been doing.
I call it the Covid dip, in our annual report you can see that there was a massive spike in February/March because everybody was scrambling and then it bottomed out, only to pick back up in August/September.
Many of our competitors switched off at this time, suddenly they disappeared, nobody was there and nobody was talking, but we kept going, we kept out there, kept pushing, kept sewing on all of our button-holes and made sure we were ready.
Once things started to pick up we were actually surpassing pre-Covid levels and I think it just goes to show that staying true to your methodology, we knew who we were, what our proposition was and we knew that people needed us.
So even when things dipped off, we didn’t react to that, we stayed as we were and it proved that it actually works.
It’s only now that the team is seeing that we’ve come through the toughest year and had the best organic six months we’ve ever had at the end of last year (2020). Again this quarter, Q2 2021 is set to do the same.
Consistency and Structure
Using the methodology ensures we don’t neglect any areas, but there is consistency, the team know what they are doing and why they are doing it. And we just keep doing it. I don’t just turn around and say “right I want you to make 300 calls this month” and “I want you to go to this many events”, we just have a nice even keel, sometimes we do more, but we stay at that nice level.
As much as you can say that the button methodology works as a feeling, actually our figures show that it does work. Really the figures shouldn’t because it’s been a tough time for everybody. Because we’ve stuck to the methodology and haven’t veered from that, we are starting to see the benefits now.”
MARKETING MANAGER, ERIMUS INSURANCE BROKERS
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